Yorkshire’s Lucy Hall nearly retired from shooting aged just 18.
The Malton star had a prodigious junior career, crowned European Champion at age-group level in 2021.
It was so successful that she considered never even trying to top it in senior competition and giving up on her Olympic dream.
“I’ve had some hard points but you stick through it knowing that things are going to get better,” she said.
“The transition has been hard. It might have seemed the opposite but there have been some tough times.
“(In summer 2022) I was convinced that I was going to retire and that I had achieved all I could. But even at that low point I got back up again.
“Two months later, I was shooting next to people I’ve admired for ages and used to watch on YouTube.”
Hall is one of over 1,000 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing her to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering medical support – this is vital for her pathway to the Paris 2024 Games.
Not only did Hall navigate her doubts to compete against her heroes, but she also beat them.
Hall won silver in the trap event at the 2022 European Championships, beating the likes of 2012 Olympic champion Jessica Ross and reigning Olympic champion Zuzana Rehak-Stefecekova in the process.
“It was such a surreal moment to be stood there and to beat them was incredible,” she said.
At least as precious as that memory was the coveted Olympic quota place that came with it – ensuring Team GB will compete at Paris 2024 in the women’s trap.
Since the age of 11 Hall has only had one thing on her mind – Olympic gold.
“Last year was a real roller-coaster ride for me,” she said.
“Trying to manage the junior to senior transition was a really difficult time but the highs I had were some of the best moments of my life so far.
“There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about that silver medal and quota place.
“Training was going really well into it and my Olympic dream was looming, so I was drilled into what I needed to do to enable the possibility of going to an Olympics.
“To get that spot was such a great achievement for me.
“When I left primary school we did a project asking what we wanted to grow up to do and I wrote ‘win a gold medal at the Olympics’.
“I have that stuck up on my bedroom wall and I look at it every day so I would love that dream to come true.”
With the Paris 2024 Olympics only one year away, the Games are set to inspire people and communities across the country. Hall hopes that by sharing her story it will give others motivation to get involved int sport.
Shooting runs through Hall’s blood, with both her dad Rob and grandad John both previously shooting for England.
The father-son duo won the Womble Clay Shooting Trophy at the English Open Championship in 2010 and have become Hall’s main inspiration for success in the sport.
“I’m very fortunate that my grandad and dad both shot for England and my dad for Great Britain as well, so it’s in my blood,” said Hall, who now works alongside her dad at their family business ‘The Gun Room’.
“I was about 11 when my dad asked me to have a go at shooting, and I just immediately loved it.
“My grandad passed away two years ago and that now gives me the drive and determination to do it for him.
“I just want to get as much experience and to win as much as I can this year ahead of Paris. It would be such a dream come true to go to an Olympic Games.”
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